The Onimiki project is supported by the Témiscamingue community and the First Nations of Kebaowek and Wolf Lake. It meets the highest environmental and social acceptability criteria.
According to the preliminary assessment of environmental and social impacts conducted by Organisme du bassin versant du Témiscamingue (OBVT), the Onimiki project:
- Will have little impact on the environment
- Will produce few greenhouse gas emissions
- Has a low risk of affecting groundwater recharge
The Onimiki project is a micro hydro power plant. It will therefore have little effect on the current environment.MHP = capacity of less than 50 MW
Onimiki will also be a “run of river” power plant because it does not involve any modifications to the current capacity and water levels of Lake Kipawa or any other lakes and rivers.ROR = draws energy from an existing waterway with little or no water storage
As the project progresses, more in-depth studies will be conducted to confirm the findings of minimal impact from OBVT’s preliminary study.
The creek bed at Gordon Creek is stable and has already had water flows greater than those anticipated with the Onimiki project.
The hydroelectric potential of Gordon Creek has been tapped in the past. Production ceased after electricity was nationalized in Quebec, but the creek still has hydro power potential.
With the mixing of a greater volume of water in this sector, water oxygenation should also increase. OBVT expects the increased flow of water in Gordon Creek to lead to a higher volume of nutrients, but the concentration of nutrients in the water will remain the same.
In 2013, an agreement was made with CEHQ (Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec) to lower the normal level of Lake Kipawa by 40 cm during the lake trout spawning season.
This agreement aims to help fish eggs survive the winter drawdown. The water level is gradually lowered from September 1 to October 20 each year.
Many spawning grounds were identified by MRNF in and around Lake Témiscamingue, but only one walleye spawning ground was found near the mouth of the Kipawa River.
The walleye’s rate of reproductive success fluctuates widely from one year to the next. This fluctuation is related to climatic factors that affect egg hatch rates as well as the abundance of zooplankton and available prey during the first winter.